Uncasville, CT — The UConn women’s basketball team and coach Geno Auriemma are no strangers to making history. Auriemma became the second coach today to reach the 1,000 career win plateau after his Huskies handled the Oklahoma Sooners in the Naismith Holiday Showcase, 88-64.
Auriemma set the career mark just hours after North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell also recorded her 1,000th career win against Grambling State. Hatchell and Auriemma join Pat Summitt and Tara VanDerveer in the women’s game, and Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boehim as the only other coaches in Division I history to reach the historic milestone.
“I think (1,000 wins) is so significant because so few people have been able to do that,” Auriemma said. “It’s funny: two in one day, so it can’t be that hard right?”
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“There’s just so few opportunities to coach that many games, so you feel incredibly fortunate that you’re one of a very, very select few.”
His top-ranked Huskies improved to 9-0 by beating an undermatched Sooner team in front of a UConn-friendly crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena. Napheesa Collier led all scorers with 21 points and was one of four Huskies to score at least 17. Kia Nurse scored 20, while the team’s leading scorer entering the game, Katie Lou Samuelson, scored 19 of her own.
The Huskies seemingly could not miss in the first half, which helped them build their lead. UConn shot 60 percent from the floor in the first half and over 50 percent from three. This red-hot shooting allowed them to build a lead as large as 21 about halfway through the second.
Maddie Manning kept the Sooners in it, hitting shots of her own from behind the arc. Manning scored all 15 of her points in the first half. Manning was one of two Oklahoma player to score a point in the first quarter, joining Ana Llanusa in the scoring column.
That lack of balance on the offensive end really hurt the Sooners, who trailed by double-digits after the first quarter. UConn saw all six players who saw the court in the first half score at least a point, with five of the six scoring at least eight. Kia
Oklahoma made a push out of the half, and cut the Husky lead to just seven. The Sooners forced a UConn timeout after beginning the quarter on an 11-3 run.
The Huskies would score 13 of the next 16 points, regaining all momentum to close out the third leading by 17. UConn attacked Oklahoma more inside out after that timeout halfway through the third, getting many buckets during their run on assists from the high post.
Azura Stevens fueled the second-half Husky run, keeping rebounds alive and showing off her inside-out offensive game. Stevens scored 11 of her 20 points after the intermission, and made her lone three of the game in the fourth that served as the dagger. UConn outscored Oklahoma 24-17 in the fourth to put the game out of reach.
Auriemma thought the postgame celebration for his accomplishment was a “little over the top,” but he said that celebration actually shows a lot about the program.
“This year’s players seemed to be the ones that were most engaged (during the cerebration) and had the most fun,” Auriemma said. “We’ve always tried to make this about our players, and tonight was just another example of that.”
UConn vs Oklahoma Postgame chatPosted by Swish Appeal Staff on Tuesday, December 19, 2017